Selecting a Tutor

If your child is struggling in school, or has a learning disability, hiring a tutor is an option worth considering. Tutors can provide the one-on-one attention lacking in many traditional schools, and can zero in on the unique difficulties your child is experiencing. Tutors can also provide much needed support in order for your child to catch up with their peers, and participate more in class. Tutors can also replace YOU when your child rebels against working on schoolwork with you; in this way, tutors help preserve a healthy parent-child relationship.

If you want to maximize your child’s relationship with his or her tutor, consider the following tips:

Consider Your Tutor’s Credentials
Different children have different needs from their tutors. Some kids do well in class, but have tutors because parents lack time to supervise their assignments. Others need extra assistance in particular subjects like math or science. There are those with learning disabilities like dyslexia or dyscalculia who need specialized tools and teaching methodology. Some kids with behavioral issues are enrolled in tutoring services not for academic gain, but to increase their socialization with other kids.

Pick a tutor whose credentials match your child’s needs. Not all tutors are the same; some are high school or college students who need an extra gig, others are subject matter experts, and there are those with background and training in special education. A high school student, no matter how well-meaning and intelligent he or she is, may not be able to respond adequately to the needs of an ADHD child. Similarly, why hire an expert (who likely has a more expensive rate per hour) when a student tutor can provide the same help at a lesser cost for a child who just needs a little support?

Consider Your Tutor’s Rapport with the Child
A good tutor-student relationship is not just hinged on the skills of the tutor. There are also other intangibles like the tutor’s patience, consistency and courtesy. And then there’s rapport and chemistry. Some personalities just click and others just don’t!

Don’t assume that just because a tutor worked well with someone else’s child means they will work well with yours. Always ask your child if he or she is comfortable with the person you hired; after all, children learn better if they’re working with someone they like and trust. A tutor with a good rapport with your child can motivate your child better, and even raise his or her self-confidence and efficacy.

Establish a Partnership with Your Child’s Tutor
Having a tutor doesn’t mean that a parent can surrender all tasks in monitoring their child’s academic performance. Seek periodic reports and ask what you can do to help. Many tutorial lessons can be reinforced by the right parenting style, especially for children struggling with low self-esteem or poor impulse control. Provide your tutor input as well on how to best deal with your child. Let them know what works and what doesn’t work in motivating your child to do better. Let them know what the best day or time to conduct tutoring is (which is usually the time when your child’s mind is freshest).

Pick a Tutor Who is Growth-Oriented
The best tutors are those who work at helping students learn how to stand on their own, instead of making them forever dependent on tutoring. Look for a tutor who can actually teach your child learning skills and academic skills. Your child may benefit from learning how to write an essay or a research paper or a speech; or he may benefit from learning how to decipher the meaning in a paragraph or how to approach mathematical problems. Once your child knows how to learn, he’ll need less outside support. If your child has a learning disorder or other special need, try to find a tutor who has specialized training and/or experience.

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